Citations for sale

Saudi university boosts rankings by aggressively recruiting world's top researchers


The U.S. News and World Report rankings have long been regarded as the Bible of university reputation metrics.

But when the outlet released its first global rankings in October, many were surprised. UC Berkeley, which typically hovers in the twenties in the national pecking order, shot to third in the international arena. The university also placed highly in several subjects, including first place in math.

Even more surprising, though, was that a little-known university in Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz University, or KAU, ranked seventh in the world in mathematics — despite the fact that it didn’t have a doctorate program in math until two years ago.

“I thought this was really bizarre,” said UC Berkeley math professor Lior Pachter. “I had never heard of this university and never heard of it in the context of mathematics.”

As he usually does when rankings are released, Pachter received a round of self-congratulatory emails from fellow faculty members. He, too, was pleased that his math department had ranked first. But he was also surprised that his school had edged out other universities with reputable math departments, such as MIT, which did not even make the top 10.

For the sake of ranking

Citations are an indicator of academic clout, but they are also a crucial metric used in compiling several university rankings.

It was enough to inspire Pachter to conduct his own review of the newly minted rankings. His inquiry revealed that KAU had aggressively recruited professors from a list of top scientists with the most frequently referenced papers, often referred to as highly cited researchers.

“The more I’ve learned, the more shocked and disgusted I’ve been,” Pachter said.

Citations are an indicator of academic clout, but they are also a crucial metric used in compiling several university rankings. There may be many reasons for hiring highly cited researchers, but rankings are one clear result of KAU’s investment. The worry, some researchers have said, is that citations and, ultimately, rankings may be KAU’s primary aim. KAU did not respond to repeated requests for comment via phone and email for this article.

On Halloween, Pachter published his findings about KAU’s so-called “highly-cited researcher program” in a post on his blog. It elicited many responses from his colleagues in the comment section, some of whom had experience working with KAU.

UC Davis professor Jonathan Eisen also contacted Pachter. Almost a year ago, Eisen had been solicited by KAU but ultimately declined the offer.

Most researchers, such as Eisen, were initially contacted by KAU via email and asked if they would like to join the university’s faculty as a “distinguished adjunct professor.” Eisen traded emails with several people at KAU, trying to figure out what the catch was.

“I tried to get them to explain what they were trying to do,” Eisen said. “It smelled really off.”

KAU offered him $72,000 per year and free business-class airfare and five-star hotel stays for him to visit KAU in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, according to an email sent to Eisen by KAU. In exchange, Eisen was told he would be expected to work on collaborations with KAU local researchers and also update his Thomson Reuters’ highly cited researcher listing to include a KAU affiliation. He would also be expected to occasionally publish some scientific journal articles with the Saudi university’s name attached.

Other former and current KAU adjuncts reported being contacted in the same way and offered similar contracts.

“I’ve been offered money to be a visiting scientist somewhere and even done that occasionally,” Eisen said. “But they don’t come out and say, ‘We want to list your name as one of our faculty members.’ ”

In 2011, Science magazine published an article titled “Saudi Universities Offer Cash in Exchange for Academic Prestige,” questioning KAU’s efforts to enhance its international standing through this program.

In response, Adnan Zahed, KAU’s vice president for graduate studies, submitted a letter to the magazine, defending the program.

“KAU is definitely not buying research publications for the sake of ranking,” Zahed said in the letter. “KAU would never sacrifice its reputation in order to obtain false rewards; neither would the elite scientists collaborating with the institution accept such an unethical proposition.”

Secondary affiliations12.5.14.cp2.NEW.emily

On its website, KAU says the goal of hiring widely published professors is to “encourage and enhance its multidisciplinary research programs” and “initiate strong collaborations with other leading institutions around the globe.” The program was piloted in spring 2010 in the math department and was later extended to other disciplines.

About 130 researchers — spanning the globe from Hong Kong to the Netherlands to the United States — list KAU as a secondary affiliation on Thomson Reuters’ highly cited researcher database. That figure is four times higher than that of Harvard University, which has the next highest number of secondary affiliations: 32.

Four UC Berkeley researchers list KAU affiliations, but only two have active adjunct professorships with the university: plant and microbial biology professor Chris Somerville and mechanical engineering professor Xiang Zhang.

Somerville, a highly cited researcher, began his adjunct professorship with KAU early this year. Since then, he said he has helped KAU researchers with a grant proposal. He was supposed to travel to KAU earlier this year but said that, for one reason or another, it never worked out.

When asked what he would do if it turned out that KAU had hired him only for his citations, Somerville said he had “started wondering about it” but was not sure.

Zhang declined to comment, saying he didn’t want to “spoil” his newly formed relationship with KAU.

Other former KAU adjuncts report similar experiences to Somerville’s. They communicated with KAU researchers and drafted proposals, and many never heard back. Those former adjuncts view the program as an honest effort to establish international research collaborations, but one that ultimately fails in practice.

Maarten Chrispeels, a professor emeritus at UCSD, was an adjunct professor at KAU for just one year. While under contract, he traveled to Saudi Arabia and submitted a research proposal for KAU researchers to sequence the genome of desert plants. But he never received a response from KAU about the proposal.

Chrispeels said his contract was terminated at the end of the year. He believes that KAU was only interested in hiring him because of his ranking on the 2001 highly cited researcher list and that they may have terminated the contract after realizing he was no longer publishing out of his UCSD lab.

“The program was OK, but from that point of view, this is not the way you go about developing science in a developing country,” Chrispeels said. “It’s my feeling that it is the way you raise your numbers.”

But Manolis Dermitzakis, an active KAU adjunct professor and University of Geneva Medical School professor, believes KAU has started terminating contracts of adjunct professors not because researchers haven’t appended enough KAU affiliations to their articles but rather because they are not visiting the university frequently enough or have not helped write grants.

He does agree, though, that KAU has not approached the recruitment of adjuncts in the best way.

“The key problem is that the way the Saudis have approached people was not elegant,” Dermitzakis said in an email. “To me this is mainly a problem of them not fully understanding how the scientific community works due to isolation.”

Beyond the metrics

“KAU would never sacrifice its reputation in order to obtain false rewards; neither would the elite scientists collaborating with the institution accept such an unethical proposition.”

— Adnan Zahed, KAU’s vice president for graduate studies

In addition to its seventh-place math ranking in the new U.S. News and World Report global ranking, KAU also ranked 10th in math in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, or ARWU. Back in 2012, it placed in the 51st-through-75th range in math.

In rankings that rely heavily on a university’s number of highly cited researchers, such as the ARWU and the U.S. News and World Report Global University Rankings, KAU places highly.

In the U.S. News and World Report international rankings, 75 percent of the indicators considered have to do with bibliometric indicators — which include the number of publications and citations, how impactful those citations are and the proportion of papers that feature co-authors from different countries — all of which favor universities with highly cited professors. The other 25 percent is based on reputation.

Other criteria used in U.S. News and World Report’s National University Rankings — such as student retention rates, selectivity and faculty resources — often are not available for international universities. So the outlet had to work with what it had, said Robert Morse, chief data strategist for the U.S. News and World Report.

Morse said the goal of these global university rankings was to measure the “research mission of the university.”

Pachter said UC Berkeley’s math department itself benefited from a large number of highly cited researchers. The school, he said, has a robust applied-mathematics team — one of the most widely referenced specialties in the field. Some of the most respected professors, however, have few citations, Pachter said.

He said that capturing what makes a university “good” goes beyond the numbers.

“In math, it has a lot to do with the individuals who are in the departments,” Pachter said. “Many faculty at Berkeley have, at some point in their careers, proved famous theorems. Work that’s very deep — that’s the word we use in math — is respected and appreciated.”

Megan Messerly is the managing editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @meganmesserly.

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  • Nice to read the post discovering new interesting facts. Thank you. I realised I need to read and to watch more about Saudi Arabia افلام وثائقية must help

  • Azzam Maghazachi

    Most scientists receive consultation fees and travel
    compensations from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. I failed to see
    why this is different. Dr. Yacoub perhaps meant paying for consultation fees
    rather than salary. In fact a two week stay can only be justified as consulting
    rather than employment. I assume that is why the other eminent scientists agree
    to collaborate.

  • Kamal

    It may come as a shock to the public, but there’s an awful lot of politics in academia. The funny problem here is that KAU’s policy does not seem to utilize any form of diplomacy or exhibit intellect at all for that matter. That is not to say that all universities follow convoluted routes to ascend through the rankings, most of the ones in the top 200 are likely honest in their competition with others. This is, however, to say that this article raises some great points that need considerable attention from ranking agencies. The Saudis, and many of the other Gulf Region countries, need to understand that you can’t buy science or civilization. The Middle East was, at some point, a hub for many early scientists and scholars, but now.. The corruption, geopolitics, and foreign intervention seem to have hindered its progress beyond repair.

  • Badaruddin Abbasi

    I am not surprised at all.

  • abdullahyousafzaii

    I think Thomson and Reuter is a Game and there are many question regarding the ranking system some of them I have pointed out in my post at

  • Saudi

    People of your kind simply can get caught in the middle of any bigger issues that are much bigger than your brain size. People of your kind can get brain washed easily and convert to became terrorist in one day. So, pick one of your size boy to quarrel with.

  • M2000

    So when will Berkeley vote on divesting from Saudi Arabia the country that doesn’t let women drive cars?

  • Saudi

    mesmessmessamessagesmessages, tThe more you write the more you reveal you’re sickness identity. You are full of hatred in a way that blinds you from seeing the obvious. Who is killing who? and Why? Two simple questions if take a break from your blind hatred you will know that terrorists killing their victims, and who are the victims it appeared to the whole world those are the poor peaceful Muslims who stand against thier terrorism. Symptom of terrorism: having sick mind filled with ideology of hatred similar to you, another having a shallow understand of their ideology which cause conflict with others who have deep understanding, they don’t believe about the peaceful way of sending messages, they don’t accept differences, they have a limited unidirectional way of thinking, they don’t believe in humans rights. So who is killing who? And why? only smart people can answer that and not you. Finally, from your way of changing the topics and involving everything not related into your previous comments to acheave your dirty goal of misguiding the public, I believe you(and others who are similar to you) belong to some part of the world who literally practice what i mentioned above about the symptoms of terrorism.

    • Dan Spitzer

      Thousands of members of your so-called religion of peace have and are killing thousands of innocent Muslims, Christians, Bahai, and Jews in the name of Islam. What does the butchery seen today and recently carried out in Libya, the quarter million killed in the Algerian civil strife, Egypt, Nigeria, Mali, Central African Republic, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and S. Thailand have in common? It is all done by whom? By those who justify their savagery by invoking the name of Mohammed and your so-called “religion of peace.” And there have been billions of Saudi dollars which have sponsored just such barbarities, to say nothing of the savagery taught in Saudi financed madrassas worldwide.
      Tell me, Dear Saudi, is it an accident that all these murders, all this warfare, is justified by its perpetrators who cite the Holy Koran and the teachings of Mohammed for their seeming unquenchable acts of bloodshed?

      • Saudi

        you made me sick every time i tried to educate you, it seem to me you’re a lost case and you dob’t worth wasting my time. For the last time and in a very simple way i am going to help you understand the difference between religions and humans behaviors. Once upon a time there was a Muslim (peaceful person and yes his belief is Islam) and there is another”Muslim!!”(he claims to be Muslim) the second one is terrorist and he attacked the first one and killed him. So the problem was in the islam? or was on the act (human behavior)?. Again, once upon a time there was non Muslim and another non Muslim and they have the same belief (let suppose the were both Jewish for the case of clarity) and the second one attack and killed the first one does that mean the problem was with their religion? or with their behavior?
        Terrorism is a behavior not a religion, and like other criminal who try to justify his criminal act by using some sort of sick idea whether it was a religion or other things it’s always the same. Moreover, Billions of Muslims live together for thousands years they didn’t do what we see now isn’t that fishy? why now and not before? This is evidence of hidden things happening in behind the scenes and what the brain washing machines (media) are trying to do is to keep ignorant sick people like you holding their ignorance for much longer time as they could just until their hidden agendas are achieved and became reality then they don’t care what if stay ignorant or woke up after that.
        Dig deep to seek better understanding if really don’t want people to continue laughing at your sick ideas.

    • Saudi

      Another thing i know and understand the holy Quran more than you and nothing of what you said is written there, so stop lying to yourself. even Muslims have different views and different understanding about what are noted in quran so how come you became the only one who understand and speaks of what are noted in quran without bringing any evidence for your claims. Your blind hatred coverts you to a parrot that just echo without understanding what it’s echoes about.

  • Saudi

    لاتكن من الحمقی اصلحك الله.

    من الحماقة ان لاينفك الاحمق بان يخدع بشعارات الحرية المزيفة ويتجه الی ساحات اعلامية لاتنفك عن كل ما بيدها من حيل في مهاجمة المجتمع العربي او الاسلامي لا بهدف الوصول الی الحقيقة بذاتها وانما مجرد تعبئة العقل المجتمعي الاخر بكل السلبيات حتی يتحول الی مجتمع طارد ومؤذي للمجتمع العربي او الاسلامي نحن هنا لا بصدد الدفاع عن أخطاء الجامعات او أخطاء الجماعات الارهابية ولكن ضد ان يستخدم كل منبر اعلامي لاجل اقحام كل صور التشويه والامعان في التضليل انظر الی الحوادث الاخيرة للمبتعثين من قتل واختفاء لتعلم ماهي نتائج هذا الاستمرار في الشحن والكراهية التي تزرع في عقول المجتمعات الاخری. علی سبيل المثال انظر لتعليقات البعض مثلا دان سبينزر تجده لايكل عن اقحام امور خارجة عن موضوع المقال ويستميت في النيل من المسلمين والمجتمعات العربية!!! اليس مثل هذا الاصطياد في الماء العكر من طبيعة شعب ذو اجندة معينة نعرفه وتعرفونه. اما بالنسبة للأخطاء ان حصلت فهناك منابر ليست ذات أجندة سياسية او فكرية بامكانك اطلاق لنفسك حرية النقاش حول اي موضوع دون خوف من رقابة و بكل حرية
    العاقل يتفكر ولا يقدم خطوة او يؤخرها قبل النظر في عواقب الامور فهلا تأملت في عواقب تعليقك. قبل التعليق هذه نصيحة صادقة فتقبلها

  • Hafez

    I was amazed to see this kind of malice that the reasons behind it are too obvious for those who have intact vision and mentality.

  • Matthew Peters

    Bravo to Ms. Messerly for this outstanding piece of journalism. Daily Cal, please publish more of the same.

  • Dan Spitzer

    That you would remotely compare the bigotry to say nothing of the outrageously extreme misogyny and sexism of Saudi Arabia to the US is pathetic in the extreme.

    BTW, your own misogyny and sexism, Yousif, is revealed by your own post. And it certainly reflects the mindset of Islamists…

    • Dan Spitzer

      Addendum: Even the barbaric treatment by the Palestinians of their women, gays and dissidents is benign in comparison to the savagery of the Saudis. But that’s the nature of human socio-cultural behavior which is RELATIVE, a concept those who live by absolutes-i.e. most Muslims-have a difficult time comprehending…

  • Saudi

    For the stupid person who commented about the language of the emails i hope you’re better than him writing in his own language.

    • Hafez

      I add my voice to you dear Saudi. I was amazed to see this kind of malice that the reasons behind it are too obvious for those who have intact vision and mentality.

    • Martin Ebonese

      Hey Saudi guy stop abusing people, what do you think you are to call people stupid? If you think that the level of writing of Dr. Yakoub is good, I would ask you to go with him for English Class to improve your English.
      Apart from the language formation, I do not like the way of the invitation. It is very poor, impolite, informal and so cheap, looks like he was trying to attract the Prof Jonathan by money as he was trying to persuade him that other persons who are known to Prof Jonathan have accepted the same offer so he has to accept to get the money. What a crappy way of thinking!

  • Saudi

    I smell jealousy. All I see are some bunch of cowards who don’t have the courage to accept the challenges that are expected from them as compensate to the appealing offers that presented to them or even worse they might know or afraid not to reach the high hopes and expectations that are expected from them. And for other passive critics certainly they wish if the received this kind of offers that why they rather write bad comments knowing that they don’t even have the basic knowledge or good researching reputation that could make their names appealing to similar universities which seeks for the best. Finally, to the writer of this article it’s really unethical behavior that you show to your readers by taking “SOME” of the facts and put it in a different context to misguided the readers who read this article…which also raise this question WHY? $$$

    • Dan Spitzer

      Unlike the Saudis, whose continual corruption is legendary, the writer of this piece received nary a dime from its publication. This is damn good investigative journalism, something forbidden in the Islamic world in general and Saudi Arabia in particular where no criticism of consequence is permitted.
      So Saudi to remind you of the truth. ;-)>

      • Saudi

        Waw So eager to defend. A Question…how do you know?!! unless you’re the writer himself or his coworker. It’s very obvious that some species tend to expose their Identity from the ideology of hatred they hold inside their sick minds…a Hidden message to you “read your holy book very well in order to know that the TRUE PEACEFUL RELIGION OF ISLAM will PREVAIL and the terrorists or even other kinds of shallow minds species which are created and manipulated by sick people having similar minds like you will always lose at the end”

    • Mark Dingle

      Cowards? This prof turned down $84,000 per year to write two journal articles. He must have been afraid of making money, right? In the United States we call this “ethics”. Look it up.

      If a university can pay outrageous sums to hire professors simply to boost its ratings, why not just let them simply pay the ranking body for a high rating and skip the middle man?

      • Saudi

        You are wrong. First, Turning down the offer is not a sign of ethics. It’s the purpose behind the act that we can judge, and it could be a sign of ethics or a sign of cowardice. In order to know the right answer, you have to look up his academic website, and see if the person you talked about is a productive professor or not? For example, ask yourself how many papers the person you talked about published by himself (and not relying on his students efforts) since the day he received the offer until this day? then you’ll know if his claim is right or else…
        Second, you said by yourself if the university intrested only on ranking then why it spend all that money all over the globe to bring professors? simply, it can buy or bribe the ranking websites with all that money! The only reasonable answer for that is to improve the productivity and staff experiences by allowing them to work hand in hand with the experienced professors from all countries.

  • I’m from saudi arabia graduated from university of petroleum and minerals, and I feel sorry and ashamed for such acts.

    Thank you for the article, which focused on KAU’s actions only, and publishing the emails highlighted the bug. Your article is starting to spread among Saudi social networks which is great.

    Ranking is excellent way to develop if you use it honestly. One of Korea’s development factors was taking world’s rankings in different fields, and working to improve the rankings.
    Such practice, if done honestly, leads to great results, which is the goal of those rankings.

    Another university in Saudi did so and the local impact was great in terms of offering better online portal and supporting research and innovation competition. They didn’t shine internationally and it’s not the point, the rankings were like consulting tools telling them what makes universities more productive.

    I hope fair readers will think of it case by case. We know not all universities in Arizona are similar to online Phoenix university, for example. It’s easier to generalize than to think, especially on communities we don’t know about. However, saying I Don’t Know is better than tagging haphazardly or lending my brain to one person to fill whom only credential is being from that region.

    • Saudi

      اذا عندك شعور بالانهزامية والدونية ياليت تحتفظ فيه لنفسك

      • 3bdlrhmn

        اعتدنا سنين طويلة على التلفزيون الواحد والجريدة الواحدة والمنبر الواحد والمجلس الكبير الذي يتحدث فيه شخص واحد فقط، وحين جاءت الفرصة ليتحدث الجميع بحرية لم نعرف ما نقوله لمن يختلف معنا فاتجهنا لشتمه، الشتيمة عندنا وجهة نظر وعلى المشتوم أن يتقبلها بصدر رحب أو أن يرد عليها بأسوأ منها.. هذه هي قواعد الحوار في الإنترنت لدى السعوديين

        i’m from saudi as well, and i’d like to thank the writer of this article, saudi media is controlled by the government and real issues like this is never in our news stations.

  • werd814

    Wow. Very good article. I would love to see more like this in the Daily Cal. Would even contribute a few bucks a year for it.

  • rws450

    Great report! In fact there has been close relationship between UC and KAUST during Mark Yudof presidency.

  • It is funny how Haitham Yakoub’s English gets worse and worse throughout the e-mail exchange.

    Kudos to Jonathan Eisen for doing the right thing. I was surprised by the fact that Dr. Verma really seems to have taken up the offer according to his biography at

    I have had written extensively on the academical deterioration in Turkey (here is an example: ). Very unfortunately, academical corruption is not rare in that part of the world.

  • Dan Spitzer

    This is hardly the first time that the Saudis have manipulated and or used their enormous oil wealth to influence prominent other institutions or individuals. Just three of many examples: Middle and Near East Studies Departments-with their overwhelmingly anti-Israel faculty-have had substantial Saudi funding over the years. Ditto the Muslim Student Alliance.
    Moreover, the primary international funder of the (Jimmy) Carter Center has been the Saudis. Many believe that while Carter later stated that he only used “apartheid” in his book about the Israeli/Palestinian crisis to sell his work. However, it only is logical to deduce that it was the Saudi financial influence which led Carter to use that politically loaded and in this case, as Carter acknowledged, inappropriate term “apartheid” in the title to curry favor with the Saudis. After all, it was also the Saudis who invested in President Peanut Brain’s farm when it was suffering economic hardship as well as the Carter Center. And, surprise-surprise, despite its manifest human rights abuses, Saudi Arabia has NEVER been cited by the Carter Center for human rights abuses, although virtually every other tyranny worldwide has…

    • cam

      Israel/Palestine blah blah blah, every conversation is about Israel and those pesky Muslims…Dan Spitzer, are you a victim of brain damage?

    • This article is about KAU buying citations, hold your horses. You may consider shouting in a jar to vent out.

      • Dan Spitzer

        Techani, has your Saudi heritage made you oblivious to what I wrote? The pertinent point is that the KAU matter is just one of many instances of the Saudis using their formidable oil revenue wealth to engage in other less than admirable, indeed downright machiavellian acts which nave had a nefarious impact upon our institutions, to say nothing of wielding substantial influence upon important individuals such as Jimmy Carter. I also cited that which is particularly of consequence to US campuses: the funding of Near and Middle East Studies Departments and MSA.
        To my previous post, it won’t be inappropriate to add that these Wahabists have also financed with their billions the creation of mosques worldwide whose fundamentalist preachings have churned out scores of Western-hating jihadis. And that the money of prominent Saudis, some politically connected to the monarchy, helped provide the funding of 9/11. Of course, this includes the family of Osama bin Laden.
        In sum, the Saudis are rather dubious allies and one should carefully scrutinize how that kingdom of Muslim orthodoxy spends its money internationally…

  • roccolore

    The liberal fascists at Berkeley attack Israel, yet have no problem having an alliance with Saudi schools. God forbid you’re caught being gay or carrying a Bible.

  • cam

    Fantastic article. THIS is what journalism is about, not the other BS on this site like the “I f*cked my professor” bit

    • Gene Nelson

      I agree that the I F’d My Prof article is not as significant or newsworthy, but it is valid to be in a newspaper. By your logic, no paper should have comics or weather reports or sports etc. Newspapers serve many purposes for many different types of people. They don’t just serve you. Chill a bit and let others have what they want while you get what you want.

  • Arafat

    To clarify: Wahhabism is the only officially recognized and
    allowed religion in Saudi Arabia. Other forms of Islam and other religions are
    banned and persecuted by the state.

    Saudi Arabia is the only Islamic state in which there is no
    church, no synagogue and no other place of worship of any other religion.

    Shiite Muslims have been systematically discriminated
    against for decades. Jews are even forbidden to enter the Kingdom.

    Saudi Arabia practices a form of Sharia law that is one of
    the most brutal systems in the world. Saudi Arabia has at all times rejected
    the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.

    Women may not drive a car and can be punished by flogging.
    Corporal punishment, including amputations and executions, are part of everyday
    life in the country. Just two weeks ago a Sudanese immigrant in Saudi Arabia
    was publicly beheaded for ‘sorcery.’ Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries
    in the world in which the death penalty is enforced even on teenagers,”
    the paper said.

    • …….

      اكذب منك ماشفت ياعرفات كذاب انت والي خلفوك

    • Faisal

      Show some respect to our minds.

      • Dan Spitzer

        Predicated upon such contempt for non-Wahabis, your “minds” would be worthy of respect were it not for the bigotry and misogyny so manifest in your government, religious leaders and culture…

    • We’re talking about citations and you’re talking about politics. Some people, Arabians or else, keep dedegrading Saudi Arabia and lie, like you did, out of personal hatred. And one of their symptoms is mentioning all topics even if not related to the discussion.

      Unfortunately the fair media and individuals worldwide rely on you as “middle east experts” and take anything you say as pure facts..

      People like you are the main reason misconceptions..
      A clear difference between who writes to seek better understanding and who writes to spread hatred. Keep that in your minds dear readers.

      • Dan Spitzer

        Is there anything Arafat says which is untrue? The monarchy and religious leaders of your country deserve all the criticism heaped upon them. Of course you would call the Western media unfair as your country’s media doesn’t permit any semblance of criticism. Any journalist who might be tempted to do so would, shall we say, quit while they’re “a head.”
        And who spreads hatred? No society in greater measure than Saudi Arabia, let it be in al Queda and ISIS, supported to a considerable degree by Saudi billionaires…

        • rws450

          One example of ‘arafat’ inaccuracy: “Jews are even forbidden to enter the Kingdom.” Nonsense. Former UC President Mark Yudof was in the Kingdom advising on their flourishing university KAUST.

          There is increasingly open alliance between Israel and Saudi Arabia. See

          Birds of a feather ………

          • Dan Spitzer

            This is certainly the exception rather than the norm, as it was doubtless permitted as the rarest of exceptions to benefit the Kingdom. Indeed, Saudi Arabia’s national air carrier forbids the passage of Jews even when the flights do not land within the realm of the monarchy. Or should I say, “theocracy?”
            Arafat is completely on target with his other critiques of the Kingdom’s tyrannies. Show us where he has erred…